Joe Caldwell

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Joe Caldwell
Personal information
Born (1941-11-01) November 1, 1941 (age 79)
Texas City, Texas
Listed height6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Listed weight195 lb (88 kg)
Career information
High schoolJohn C. Fremont
(Los Angeles, California)
CollegeArizona State (1961–1964)
NBA draft1964 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2nd overall
Selected by the Detroit Pistons
Playing career1964–1975
PositionShooting guard / Small forward
Number21, 27
Career history
19641965Detroit Pistons
19651970St. Louis/Atlanta Hawks
19701975Carolina Cougars/Spirits of St. Louis
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA and ABA statistics
Points12,619 (16.1 ppg)
Rebounds4,117 (5.3 rpg)
Assists2,647 (3.4 apg)
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at
Stats at

Joe Louis Caldwell (born November 1, 1941) is a retired American professional basketball player. Caldwell played six seasons (1964–1970) in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and five seasons (1970–1975) in the American Basketball Association (ABA). Caldwell was one of the few players to be an All-Star in both leagues, making 2 All-Star teams in each league. Caldwell was a member of the United States Olympic basketball team that won the gold medal in the 1964 Summer Olympics. Caldwell was Team USA's fourth leading scorer.

Early life[edit]

Caldwell was one of 11 children born in Texas City, near Houston, Texas. He was the son of a longshoreman and mechanic and a homemaker. When he was six, Caldwell witnessed the Texas City disaster in 1947, when a docked ship blew up and 581 people died with thousands injured. Caldwell's family was left unharmed, but he said decades later, "I can still see people flying through the air."[1]

When Caldwell was 15, he moved with his sister to Los Angeles, California. He emerged as a late-bloomer player and John Wooden courted him to play for him at UCLA. He ended up at Arizona State instead.[1][2]

Collegiate career[edit]

Caldwell attended John C. Fremont High School in Los Angeles, not playing until his junior year. He then played collegiately at Arizona State University.

Caldwell played for Arizona State from 1961 to 1964, setting the Sun Devils career scoring record with 1,515 points (18.2 ppg). His 929 rebounds (11.2), are the second-best total in school history. Caldwell led Arizona State to the NCAA Tournament in each of his three varsity seasons and a 65–18 overall record.[3]

1964 Olympic Team[edit]

Selected to the U.S.A. Team, Caldwell was the fourth-leading scorer (9.0 ppg) on the 1964 United States men's Olympic basketball team. Team U.S.A. went 9–0 under coach Hank Iba to capture the Olympic Gold Medal in Tokyo, Japan. Caldwell scored 14 points for the USA in the 73–59 gold medal game victory over the Soviet Union.[4]

Professional career[edit]

Nicknamed "Pogo Joe" or "Jumping Joe" for his leaping abilities, Caldwell was a 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) guard/forward. In the 1964 NBA draft, Caldwell was the No. 2 overall pick by the Detroit Pistons. Olympic teammate Jim "Bad News" Barnes went No. 1. Caldwell spent the majority of his NBA career with the St. Louis/Atlanta Hawks franchise.

After averaging 21.1 points per game for the Atlanta Hawks in the 1969–70 NBA season, Caldwell jumped to the rival ABA, playing for the Carolina Cougars from 1970 to 1974.[5]

Caldwell's contract with Carolina called for him to earn $150,000 per year and another $70,000 deferred for five years. A clause called for him to receive $6,600 per month beginning at age 55.[6] Later, the Carolina owner, Tedd Munchak, sued to try to negate the pension. Caldwell was interviewed on 60 Minutes, who ran a segment on the lawsuit. Caldwell prevailed and received his pension payments beginning in 1996.[1]

During the 1974–75 ABA season, the Carolina franchise had moved to become the St. Louis Spirits. Spirits' management blamed Caldwell for influencing team star Marvin Barnes to briefly leave the team. Caldwell denied doing this but he was suspended for "activities detrimental to the best interests of professional basketball." Caldwell never played another professional basketball game. He filed various lawsuits, alleging that he was wrongly blacklisted by the ABA and later the NBA. Tedd Munchak, who was suing Caldwell was now Commissioner of the ABA.[7] Caldwell, who was President of the ABA Players Association, had his case (Caldwell vs. American Basketball Association, 95-1012) go all the way to the Supreme Court.[8]

Caldwell averaged 16.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists in eleven professional seasons. He scored 12,619 combined NBA/ABA career points.[5]

Personal Life[edit]

Joe Caldwell is the grandfather of Marvin Bagley III, a power forward for the Sacramento Kings. Bagley's mother is Caldwell's daughter, Tracy Caldwell.[9] Bagley was the No. 2 overall selection in the 2018 NBA draft, the same pick as his grandfather in the 1964 NBA draft. Caldwell attended his grandson's games throughout high school and college.[10]


  • Caldwell's jersey #32 was retired by Arizona State University. On November 20, 2010, the ceremony took place before a game against the UAB Blazers.[11]
  • In 1975 Caldwell was a charter member of the Arizona State Hall of Fame.[12]
  • In 2005 Caldwell was inducted into the Pac-10 Hall of Fame.[12]


  1. ^ a b c "jumpin' joe". November 1, 2017.
  2. ^ "Joe Caldwell".
  3. ^ "Joe Caldwell College Stats". College Basketball at
  4. ^ "Games of the XVIIIth Olympiad -- 1964".
  5. ^ a b "Joe Caldwell Stats".
  6. ^ Loose BallsBy Terry Pluto
  7. ^ Sandomir, Richard (February 23, 1993). "PRO BASKETBALL; Recalling Joe Caldwell, Circa 1974" – via
  8. ^ Staff (July 2, 1996). "PLAYER'S ABA SUIT CAN'T BE REVIVED".
  9. ^ "Meet Marvin Bagley III, the Coveted Recruit with Unique Game and Pedigree". Retrieved March 25, 2018.
  10. ^ "Bagley's grandfather 'Jumpin' Joe' was also drafted No. 2. Why his career had a sour end" – via Sacramento Bee.
  11. ^ "Sun Devils to Honor Joe Caldwell's No. 32 at Home Opener on Nov. 20 vs. UAB". Arizona State Sun Devils. November 10, 2010. Archived from the original on July 24, 2012. Retrieved November 21, 2010.
  12. ^ a b "Eleven Sun Devils Nominated for AZ Sports Hall of Fame". Arizona State University Athletics.

External links[edit]